Highway Safety Law Awareness Week (Feb. 17-23), PennDOT and the Pennsylvania State Police wanted to highlight driver safety laws that have been recently updated and impact crash rates yearly.
"By learning and obeying the rules of the road, we can all do our part to reduce the number of crashes, injuries, and deaths on Pennsylvania's roads," said Acting Commissioner Evanchick. "Safe driving starts with wearing a seat belt – every trip, every time – and never driving aggressively, distracted, or while impaired."
Here are the laws highlighted for 2019 and their common-sense explanations:
Title 75, Section 3369 — Automated speed enforcement systems in active work zones: This section of law approved in 2018 allows PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike to use an automated speed enforcement system for active work zones. Drivers going more than 11 miles per hour over the posted speed limit in a work zone are subject to a written warning on the first offense, $75 fine on the second offense, and $150 fine for the third and following offenses.
Title 75, Section 3327 — Duty of driver in emergency response areas: Pennsylvania's "Steer Clear" law was enacted to help prevent injuries and save lives of first responders. It requires drivers to move over or slow down when they encounter an emergency scene, traffic stop, or disabled vehicle. Drivers must move over or slow down for all responders, including police, fire, and ambulance crews, as well as stopped tow trucks and maintenance vehicles. In 2018, a similar regulation went into effect to protect trash and recycling workers. Drivers must slow down and move one lane away (if possible) when approaching a stationary trash or recycling truck.
Title 75, Section 3804 — Penalties for driving under the influence: Pennsylvania recently enacted harsher penalties for drivers convicted of DUI. A fourth DUI in 10 years is now a felony. A third DUI offense in 10 years may also be a felony, depending on the driver's blood alcohol content. Legal consequences for homicide by vehicle while DUI were also strengthened.
Title 75, Section 4524 — Windshield obstructions and wipers: Removing snow and ice on vehicles and headlights before driving is essential during the winter season. If snow or ice falls from a vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury, the driver faces a fine of up to $1,000.
Title 75, Section 3111.1 — Obedience to traffic-control devices warning of hazardous conditions: "Turn Around, Don't Drown" is a reminder that motorists may not drive past, around or through a sign or traffic-control device closing a road or highway due to an existing or hazardous condition. This is a summary offense and is punishable by a fine of up to $250. If the violation results in the use of services of a first responder or emergency medical or rescue personnel (including a tow service), the fine increases to a maximum of $500 — and the driver is responsible for all the emergency response costs.
Title 75, Section 3542 — Right-of-way of pedestrians in crosswalks: This state law mandates that when a traffic-control device is not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle will yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway at an intersection with a marked or unmarked crosswalk. This is a summary offense and is punishable by a fine of $50.
For more information on highway safety, visit www.PennDOT.gov/safety. Following the conversation on social media using #PATrafficLaw. PennDOT is on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; Pennsylvania State Police can be found on Facebook and Twitter.